2011 iHobby Floor Coverage

11/8/2011 by John Redman and Gary Katzer

Copyright:© 2011 Horizon Hobby, Inc.

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iHobby is our yearly celebration of everything RC-related. From cool new gadgets and gizmos to the latest aircraft, to revolutionary cars and trucks and more, you'll find it all at iHobby. This year marks our 5th time heading to cover the event and we had an absolute blast at the show. We invite you to join John Redman and Gary Katzer as they bring you the sights, sounds and fun from iHobby 2011.

AS3X Technology
One of the biggest releases at iHobby 2011 wasn't a product, but a new technology. Spektrum debuted a new cutting edge technology called AS3X. AS3X technology can be tuned per-aircraft and application to truly maximize its capabilities. It allows pilots to enjoy smooth stability in hovers and confidence in forward flight to execute precision 3D maneuvers while providing additional stability and control in wind and turbulence. With AS3X technology, models that were previously classified as “indoor flight-only” can now be flown outdoors. John caught up with Mike McConville, who helped test and develop AS3X, as we learn more about this game changer in RC.


E-Flite Ultra Micros
As you would expect, E-flite debuted several new Ultra Micro aircraft at this year's iHobby, and they're all equipped with AS3X technology. Seth Arnold is one of the best pilots around and showed us three new aircraft. Each of these planes provides a totally different sort of flight experience, yet are all related due to the integration of the new AS3X technology. The E-flite Ultra Micro Xtreme (UMX) Hyper Taxi BNF, the UMX Gee Bee R2 BNF and the UMX Beast 3D BNF Basic all debuted at iHobby, and John visited with Seth to learn about all of these cool new ultra micro airplanes.


Blade Helicopters
Whether you're a beginner or hard core heli expert, Blade has you covered once again. They recently announced the new entry-level Blade Scout CX coaxial helicopter. This 3-channel RTF is the perfect way to get into RC heli flight quickly and easily without breaking the bank. For fans of ultra micro helis that are looking for more performance, the Blade mSR X is where it's at. The mSR X features a new AS3X flybarless system with 3 gyros and a re-designed rotor head with low parts count. It tracks better and is smoother in flight, while maintaining its stability and agility, further raising the bar in ultra micro performance. Finally, Blade has a new 450 X BNF helicopter for those who already own a DSM or DSMX transmitter. Equipped with a new Spektrum AR7200BX receiver with BeastX technology, the 450 X offers maximum precision, stability and control for advanced 3D maneuvers. Mikel Graham has brought a wealth of knowledge to the Blade design team and joins John to discuss these three new helicopters.


ECX has hit the ground running with two new and exciting trucks on the floor at iHobby 2011. Fans of short course trucks have had their patience rewarded with the new Torment 2WD Short Course Truck. This fun and durable truck handles great, is a ton of fun to drive and it is the first ECX vehicle to come equipped with Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM technology. ECX also debuted their first mini-scale vehicle at iHobby with the 1/18-scale Smash 2WD Monster Truck. The Smash will be available in either blue and grey or yellow and silver and features durable nylon composite chassis and suspension components, a Dynamite 280-sized motor, a forward/reverse ESC, Dynamite SpeedTreads tires and more. This is one tough mini-monster. Like the Torment, the Smash is a complete Ready-To-Run and includes everything you need to get running in the box, including the AA-batteries and 2-sets of crystals. ECX senior product developer Mark Reed visited with Gary to talk about these two tough trucks.


E-flite EDF, Racer and Warbird
The E-flite team had more than just ultra micros at iHobby this year; they also had three exciting larger planes on-hand. The Shoestring 15e Sport Flyer is NMPRA-legal for EF1-class pylon racing competition or just as at-home as a sport-scale plane. This spirited mid-wing speedster looks great and is an easy ARF to assemble. Next up is the hot new F-4 Phantom 32 DF, the latest EDF from E-flite. Featuring a fiberglass, wood and foam construction with an authentic-looking six-color scale US Navy Sundowner trim scheme, this is one EDF that looks as great as it performs. Finally, we have an update on the E-flite Hawker Hurricane. Announced earlier this spring, many pilots have been waiting for this plane with baited breath. John caught up with David Pane from E-flite to learn more about all of these fantastic models.


Hangar 9
Hangar 9 always has awesome planes to show at iHobby and this year is no different. Returning to the warbird arena, the Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt made its debut. This ARF features an accurate scale outline for greater appeal, 2-piece plug-in wings for easier transportation, integrated flaps for enhanced flight characteristics and realism and a super-trick optional retractable tail wheel setup. This version of the P-47D has also been designed to accept Robart Air Retracts. In addition to the P-47D, the Hangar 9 team also had the newly announced Christen Eagle II 90 ARF at iHobby. Perfect for the sport scale enthusiast, the Christen Eagle II 90 is a great looking bi-plane for the casual flyer. This model includes a prefinished cockpit with pilot and instrument panels, easy-to-access radio equipment and batteries for EP installations, and is covered in genuine Hangar 9 UltraCote covering. Finally, the Hangar 9 Katana 50 was on the floor for everyone to check out. This plane features an exceptional power-to-weight ratio and is capable of some highly aerobatic maneuvers at the flying field. Hangar 9senior PD Bill Brundle was on-hand to answer all of John's questions regarding these new models that you're going to want to get your hands on quite soon.


It isn't often that we get to spend time with the President of the Losi and Team Losi Racing vehicles, Bill Jeric, but iHobby was the perfect opportunity to sit down with the man himself. The Losi 5IVE-T truck has created quite a buzz since its debut earlier this year and Losi has some exciting plans to help promote the 5IVE-T and RC in general. Losi has worked hard with their full-sized motorsports partners and the folks at the Stronghold Motorsports and the Lucas Oil Series agreed to cross-promote the 5IVE-T. Gary spoke with Bill about the plans for the up-coming finals of the Lucas Oil Series in Las Vegas, Nevada. We also had a chat with Bill about the upcoming TLR 22T short course buggy and got some more information on when we can expect to be able to race it.

The Dynamite Fuze series of motors and ESCs have always been a great combination of performance and value. The designers at Dynamite have updated the entire lineup for 2012 and incorporated some cool updates. The new Fuze ESC is compatible with brushed and brushless motors, both sensorless and sensored. In addition to the new sensored capability on the ESC, there are three new sensored brushless motors to add to the mix, along with four sensorless motors. Beyond the new motors and ESCs, Dynamite also debuted a new conversion kit for the Traxxas Slash. Out of the box, the Slash features a higher CG than other trucks that are out there. This kit from Dynamite relocates the heavier components to a lower mounting point, lowering the center of gravity and improving the handling in racing conditions. Lee Morrison has been working behind the scenes on both of these projects, the Fuze Systems and Low CG Conversion Kit, and Gary got an inside look at these new items.


Saito Engines
Those “in the know” understand the benefits of flying an engine that runs on gasoline over glow fuel. Using gasoline can reduce your fuel costs by up to 90% when compared to glow engines. The Saito team has a knack of making some of the best gas-powered engines and the new FG-17 has a lot going for it. Featuring the latest pump carb technology and the updates that Saito learned from the FG-20, the FG-17 is sure to have great performance. Peter Bergstrom is one of the best engine gurus out there and has worked with Saito to help bring this engine to life.


JR Helis
Those who love heli's have come to know that JR offers some of the best quality helis out there. The new Vibe 50NEX flybarless kit was there showing the updates to the original 50 NEX. Delivered asa kit this heli only requires rotor baldes, motor, esc, and radio gear to get it in the air. Now with a new flybarless head and the JR TAGS system you can be pushing the envelope in no time with this hot new 600 sized electric heli. The TAGS system is JR's revolutionary new 3 axis stabilization system for flybarless helis. All adjustments are easily made on the face and it is ready to go in no time.

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